Dead Runes – Raidho

If you’re going to name your band “Dead Runes” and then title your debut album after a literal dead rune, you’re going to invite some contemplation about how the music connects with the message. “Raidho” is the name of a runic sign from an ancient alphabet called a Futhark and is considered to symbolize “an expression of a physical or spiritual journey or quest – particularly an inner quest of some sort. With that in mind, listening to Raidho takes on new context.

I’m happy to report that Dead Runes certainly makes good on delivering a proper journey. If you’re willing to spend time with the lyrics, you can piece together a fairly cohesive story of warriors, gods, sacrifice and even a little resurrection. That may not have been the band’s intention but sometimes the best journey’s are the ones you parse out yourself. Musically, the trio strikes a masterful balance of deep sludgy rock, soaring space stoner vibes and just the right dash of memorable, fist pumping, choruses. It’s fair to call them a metal band but they defy distinct pigeonholing across these eight tracks and 48 minutes.

Executing a fuzzed out, big riff, hard rock record is a tall order in and of itself. Adding in a strong conceptual angle regarding Norse mythology, a personal journey and having moving musical moments is damn near impossible but Dead Runes checks every single one of those boxes, no faltering. It’s an impressive debut and hopefully just the beginning of plenty more to come.